As an academic, I believe it is my responsibility to incorporate political economic and ecological concepts and histories into my research, teaching, and community involvement. To avert a worstcase scenario already unfolding, we collectively need to understand and overcome the pressing, interrelated crises of our time of climate change, loss of biodiversity, and obscene levels of social and economic inequality worldwide.
I aim broadly in this quilt square to express “the nature of the city,” playing on the double entendre of “nature” as character or quality of urban spaces and “nature” as all the life and elements surrounding human beings and the built environment. However, I also want to represent the problem of centuries of humanity’s attempts to conquer, master, and control nature, which has catapulted us into a new epoch of the Anthropocene. The large hawk and small city skyline represent what Marx called an “irreparable rift” in the social metabolism between nature and society. The challenge for humanity in the 21st century is to mend the rift by ceasing to extract fossil fuels and other natural resources from the earth and building egalitarian societies based on human need for the many rather than exorbitant profits for a very few.